Why would Russia use the Kinzhal in Ukraine?
An MiG-31K fighter plane with a Kinzhal hypersonic weapon flies above Moscow’s Red Square at the Victory Day military parade.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russia’s use of hypersonic weapons in Ukraine over the past few days could not be considered a signal that it is using other destructive weaponry but may also indicate Russia’s willingness to show off its arsenals, which it claims it has been working on for many years.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Friday that they had used “Kinzhal”, a hypersonic missile with the Russian name “Dagger”, to demolish a huge underground storage of Ukrainian weapons and ammunition, in Ivano-Frankivsk in west Ukraine.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Saturday’s statement by the ministry stated that Kinzhal hypersonic airballistic missiles had been used again to attack a large Ukrainian storage site for fuels in Mykolaiv. said in a statementIt was used as the fuel source for Ukrainian armored vehicle in conflict areas of southern Ukraine.
Russian news agencies reported that Russia had not used hypersonic weapons in its attack on Ukraine. It began Feb.24.
CNBC could not verify claims that hypersonic weapons were used immediately. CNBC received a statement from the Pentagon that it couldn’t verify, although Russia has boasted for many years about its development of various hypersonic weapons.
CNBC provides a short guide for hypersonic weapons and Russia’s claimed use:
What’s a hypersonic weapon?
2018 during his State of the Nation addressAs he presented the Kinzhal, and other strategic weapons of next generation, Vladimir Putin boasted about Russia’s hypersonic missile development. Putin claimed that Russia was developing hypersonic missiles at the moment. The new proto-missile prototype “can reach every point in the globe” as well as a supersonic weapon, which is impossible to track by anti-missile defense systems.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a report from February was published by the think tank. It noted that “hypersonic weapon” combines the range and speed of ballistic rockets with the maneuverability and low altitude of a cruise missile.
What’s the Kinzhal hypersonic weapon?
The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile is an aeroballistic air-to-surface missile that Russia claims has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers, or 1,200 miles, and a speed of Mach 10 — that is, that they can travel ten times faster than the speed of sound.
The Kinzhal hypersonic missile is designed to be carried by MiG fighter jets, as seen in the image below, which shows MiG-31K supersonic interceptor aircraft designed to carry Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles.
Russia’s MiG-31 Supersonic Interceptor Jets with Hypersonic Kinzhal Missiles Fly Over Red Square During the Victory Day Military Parade in Moscow, May 9, 2018.
AFP – Getty Images| AFP | Getty Images
Interfax Russian news agency reported Russian military saying that missiles like this could overcome any existing missile or air defense system.
Putin has made such remarks himself, saying in 2018 that these kinds of weapons provide “substantial advantages in an armed conflict.” He added that “its speed makes it invulnerable to current missile and air defence systems, since interceptor missiles are, simply put, not fast enough.”
“In this regard, it is quite understandable why the leading armies of the world seek to possess such an ideal weapon,” Putin said.
Russia has made significant investments in hypersonic weapon development in recent years. Putin even announced the creation of them in 2018. the “impossible to intercept” Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle which has a range of over 6,000 km, and the Zircon hypersonic missile, as well as the Dagger.
Do we need to be concerned?
Russia’s Defense Ministry released via Twitter a video Saturday that claimed to show the strike of a missile on an arms depot. NBC News couldn’t verify this claim. NBC News also didn’t know when or where the explosion occurred.
Pentagon denied that it had any evidence to support or refute the use of these weapons in the strike.
An American Defense senior official spoke under anonymity to discuss new details about the ongoing Pentagon assessment. He said that it would seem odd for the Kremlin fire a hypersonic gun.
It’s quite a puzzle. Why would you need to launch a hypersonic weapon from so far away in order to strike a building? The official stated. More than 1100 Russian missiles have been launched into Ukraine by Russia since its February 24th invasion of ex-Soviet neighbors.
James Bosbotinis (a U.K.-based specialist on defense, international affairs and security) stated that Russia’s reported use a hypersonic, air-launched Kinzhal to attack Ukraine “is unsurprising,” and added that this would send a message both to NATO and to Ukraine.
Bosbotinis stated that Russia’s Kinzhal hypersonic weapon is Russia’s most advanced operational, conventionally-armed hypersonic weapon. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin however said Sunday that he did not see hypersonic missiles being used in Ukraine as a major threat.
“I think the reason he is resorting to using these types of weapons is because he is trying to re-establish some momentum,” Austin told CBS talk show “Face the Nation.”
However, hypersonic weapons pose new problems for international air defense and national defense.
In its February report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies stated that defense against hypersonic weapons is technologically feasible, strategically necessary and financially affordable. However, it won’t be an easy task.
While traditional defenses may be able to handle the challenges alone, combining them requires new capabilities, operational concepts and defense design. They may have the same qualities that make them attractive, but they could be key to defeating them. Hypersonic defense should not be seen as an add-on to the problem of legacy ballistic missile defence. It is better to see it as a type of complex airdefense.
— CNBC’s Amanda MaciasContributed reporting for this article.